Academhack came up with some great ideas on how to use Twitter in the classroom. I agree it can be an exciting tool to engage students outside of the classroom. Mr Dooley expanded on the idea by offering an extensive list of resources, ideas, hints, tips, and tricks on how to positively affect your classroom with the use of Twitter on his own blog.
I believe this to be a very useful way to “hook” non-believers into Twitter. Create the community by having all students follow each other and yourself. Tweet a few minor writing assignments and the community will be off and running. Students will undoubtedly be engaged in rich discussion (some more than others though), which should stimulate ongoing interaction beyond school walls. An interesting tidbit that academhack mentions is Clive Thompson sixth sense of Twitter.
Track a word or phrase:
Students can track specific words and phrases through Twitter which could help them keep tabs on current events. This could be really helpful in classes where Current Events is relied on heavily.
Student can follow professionals:
Following people of interest (and there are LOTS of them) can help stimulate the “believability” of Twitter’s usefulness to students. Have students find political figures, rocket scientists, colleges, or famous people!
Hashtags are a powerful tool that allow you to track what people are tweeting about a particular topic. Although hashtags aren’t a service that Twitter officially supports there are a lot of third party apps that support following them. My favorite is TweetDeck. TweetDeck allows you to create columns that allow you to merge multiple Twitter accounts, tweets that mention your username or hashtags of your choice.
Adding a column is fairly straight forward. First click on the add column button on the top left corner of TweetDeck.
In the field that opens up type in the topic that you want to track. Be sure to add the # in front of the topic so TweetDeck knows it’s a hashtag. For example, if I wanted to search for all tweets in EdTech, I would type: #EdTech.